Chapter 9: On Calm and Quietude
When I say these things about man I am not talking about man as an abstraction. Whenever I say “man,” I mean you. My man is concrete, not abstract; my man is not a concept, it is you. And this is the way you have been living for many lives: living a dead life. That’s why you are so bored, bored to the very bottom: so tired, tired of existing. A thousand and one times you think of committing suicide and drop all this nonsense - but even that you cannot do. Even that is not possible, because a suspicion is always within you that there is much in life that you are missing. You know deep down somewhere in your heart of hearts that this is not a real life that you are living.
A possibility always follows you like a shadow - you may reduce that possibility to the concept of a paradise, a heaven, or a moksha, but that is nothing but a possibility of your coming really alive. If you live in such a way everything in your life will be perverted. You see, but in your eyes there are tears - then your eyes are clouded. You see, but your eyes are filled with thoughts - then the clarity is not really there to see. Then your thoughts interfere. If you see and your eyes have many prejudices around them, those prejudices become a barrier - you see and yet you cannot see.
You have been hearing me, but I know that it happens rarely that you hear me. Rare is the moment when understanding arises in you, otherwise you go on hearing me but it is so dull; there is no intensity in it, no throbbing of being in it. The words go on falling on your ears but nothing happens within, they don’t penetrate. You don’t give them your attention, your energy, your awareness, and they can ride only on your attention and awareness, to penetrate withinwards. You just listen to them - you listen as if you are in sleep and somebody is talking, you listen as if you are dead.
I would like to tell you an anecdote.
It happened in the life of a Sufi mystic. The man was not known much. He lived a life of an absolute stranger in the world. In fact he was known as “the stranger” because nobody knew his name and he had never told anybody from where he came, who he was. He moved from one town to another and people became aware that he was “the stranger” with no identity around him, an original face with no mask.
He came to die in a small town where Jalaluddin Rumi used to live: he came to die there because of Jalaluddin Rumi. He died, and a formality had to be performed: before a man was buried he had to be given a formal bath, so the professional bather was called. He cleaned the body of the saint and when he was coming to the private parts of the saint suddenly the dead body became as if alive, took hold of the hand of the professional and the fist was as if of iron.
Of course the professional became afraid, scared to death - a dead body had gripped his hand. He started crying, screaming, and people gathered. Every effort was made but the dead man’s grip was so strong that it was impossible to get the professional free from his grip. Then somebody remembered and said, “It is better to call Jalaluddin Rumi, he may know something.”
The whole town gathered and Jalaluddin Rumi came. He whispered in the ear of the dead man, “He is just a professional, he does not know the state of your being, he does not know who you are. Forgive him for his transgression.”
Immediately the fist opened.